Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gov't Disability Benefits: Safety Net Turning to Hammock

  • Since 1980, disability benefits grew by 82 percent and the termination rate fell by 42 percent.
  • Furthermore, 50,000 awards to beneficiaries were paid per year on average in the past decade.
  • That number peaked at 1.7 million awards after the economic crisis.
  • The termination of benefits continues to fall, which allows people to stay on SSDI for a longer time -- 163 per 1,000 beneficiaries in 1982 compared to 74 per 1,000 in 2011.

More and more beneficiaries tend to receive awards as long as they are disabled or until they reach the full retirement age, at which point they'll receive retirement benefits.

  • Less than 10 percent of individuals stop receiving disability benefits by improving their medical condition or returning to work.
  • Of the 653,877 terminated benefits, 51.7 percent were due to a conversion to retirement benefits and 36.1 percent owing to death.

The current system incentivizes people to stay out of the labor force and defer termination of their disability benefits until they reach retirement age.

The result of this has been more backlogs in the application process, hurting the people that need SSDI the most. Furthermore, SSDI is becoming unsustainable as the trust fund is being used up at increasing rates. 
Source: Veronique de Rugy, "More Americans Dependent on Disability, Longer," Mercatus Center. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2013 Health Plan Increases About 9% Nationwide (California Has Been A Bit Higher)

Trend is a forecast of per capita claims cost increases that takes into account various factors, such as price inflation, utilization, government-mandated benefits, and new treatments, therapies and technology. Although there is usually a high correlation between a trend rate and the actual cost increase assessed by a carrier, trend and the net annual change in plan costs are not the same. Changes in the costs to plan sponsors can be significantly different from projected claims cost trends, reflecting such diverse factors as group demographics, changes in plan design, administrative fees, reinsurance premiums and changes in participant contributions.

In California we continually suffer from the reality that our state mandates more benefits and implements more legislative change on average than just about any other state in the country.

With that said, here is Segal's 2013 Projection:


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sitting is killing you - even if you go to the gym 5 times a week

Get ready for treadmills and exercise bikes at your standing desk: 

[A] closer look at the accumulating research on sitting reveals something more intriguing, and disturbing: the health hazards of sitting for long stretches are significant even for people who are quite active when they’re not sitting down. That point was reiterated recently in two studies, published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine and in Diabetologia, a journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Suppose you stick to a five-times-a-week gym regimen, as I do, and have put in a lifetime of hard cardio exercise, and have a resting heart rate that’s a significant fraction below the norm. That doesn’t inoculate you, apparently, from the perils of sitting.

The research comes more from observing the health results of people’s behavior than from discovering the biological and genetic triggers that may be associated with extended sitting. Still, scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting, they add, slows the body’s metabolism of glucose and lowers the levels of good (HDLcholesterol in the blood. Those are risk factors toward developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes